Do you have a group of people that keep coming in and looking for a little more competition? There’s several approaches to starting an axe throwing league. We’re going to explore how to start an independent league. We also have a brief overview in Everything You Need to Know When Joining An Axe Throwing League.
Head to Head or Total Points
The first thing to determine is the type of league you want. A Head to Head league is typically one on one for a set number of throws or games. Over the course of the night, players should throw an even number of matches (usually 4) so that everyone plays the same number of matches in a night. With an odd number of matches, there will be players who throw more or less than others. A Total Points league is one where each player takes a set number of throws (usually about 40), tallies their score and everyone is ranked by total points.
Head to head tends to be more competitive and rigid with everyone needing to be at the venue at the same time. Total points tends to be less competitive and allows players to do their throws at any time during the week.
Most important is coming up with a set of rules so everyone is on the same page. You can borrow the World Blade League Rules as a starting point. Among important considerations are the foul lines, what constitutes a foul, and how points are scored (touching, breaking the line, majority of axe, etc).
Scores, wins, and losses can be tracked easily using Excel or Google Sheets. Head to head leagues typically rank players hockey-style with 2 points for a win, 1 for a tie or overtime loss, and 0 for a loss. Total score breaks ties. In a total points league, players are ranked by overall score. All head to head leagues (as well as some points leagues) culminate in a playoff, usually double-elimination. Independent venues can administer these either online using Challonge.com or offline with bracket sheets from PrintYourBrackets.com.
Should I join an organization like WBL, IATF, or WATL?
Joining one of the major organizations has a lot of pros and cons. Both the IATF and WATL have dues that start can at $1,500/year and go up depending on the number of leagues and league members you have. The pros of joining an organization like this are: an established set of rules that have been tested over years of play, apps to administer the league that track scores and stats, and a global community of throwers in either league. The downsides are monthly dues, dependence on the apps when something goes wrong, giving up some control with how your lanes can be designed and rules can be altered at any time without consideration of how it affects your establishment.
If you’re unsure what to do, don’t join and start paying dues until you know it’s worth it. Too many organizations are setting over $100/month on fire for something they’re not using. If your leagues are already established, or you don’t plan on being hyper-competitive, it can be just as effective, and much cheaper, to draw a target on the wall and play for high score. AxeSupplies.com sells stencils and The World Blade League lets you use their rules for free.